Theoretical analysis of liquid-ice interaction in the unsaturated environment with application to the problem of homogeneous mixing

M. Pinsky, A. Khain*, A. Korolev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The process of ice-liquid water interaction in the unsaturated environment is explored both analytically and with the help of a numerical simulation. Ice-liquid water interaction via the condensation-evaporation mechanism is considered in relation to the problem of homogeneous mixing in an unmovable air volume. The process is separated into three stages: the homogenization stage, during which the rapid alignment of thermodynamic and microphysical parameters in the mixing volume takes place; the glaciation stage, during which the liquid droplets evaporate; and the ice stage, which leads to attaining a thermodynamic equilibrium. Depending on the initial temperature, humidity, and mixing ratios of liquid water and of ice water, the third stage may result in two outcomes: existence of ice particles under zero supersaturation with respect to ice or a complete disappearance of ice particles. Three characteristic times are associated with the microphysical stages: the phase relaxation time associated with droplets, the glaciation time determined by the Wegener-Bergeron-Findeisen process, and the phase relaxation time associated with ice. Since the duration of the second and third microphysical stages may be of the same order as the homogenization time or even longer, the homogeneous mixing scenario is more probable in mixed-phase clouds than in liquid clouds. It is shown that mixing of a mixed-phase cloud with a dry environment accelerates cloud glaciation, leading to a decrease in the glaciation time by more than 2 times. The conditions of fast ice particles' disappearance due to sublimation are analyzed as well.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1045-1062
Number of pages18
JournalJournals of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments. This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grants 1393/14 and 2027/ 17) and the Office of Science (BER), the U.S. Department of Energy Award DE-SC0006788. Dr. Korolev’s participation was supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Meteorological Society.


  • Clouds
  • Convective clouds
  • Mixing


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